I’ve been off in another realm today. Norway. Or some game designer’s Norway. I’ve been playing Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. As a woman (more on that later).
Basically, if you ever watched Vikings, you have a good idea of what the game is like so far. Mean, big and ugly guys pick on the small, but infinitely cooler, guys and the latter push the bully back.
I don’t think I’m ruining much of the plot, but we’ve got a backdoor king who takes your glorious kick the bully’s ass and turns it into a “bending the knee” moment. Because, well, he did loan his soldiers to you and it only seems fair payment to take your land (with your adoptive father’s permission).
I agree with a reviewer that it would probably be a better game if they ripped the Assassin’s Creed label off the front and just had a “Be a Viking!” game without the baggage of the franchise.
As I mentioned, I purposely chose to play the character as a woman. I always do in video games, when I have a choice. I know some guys make that choice in third-person POV game because they like to watch the ass and hips wiggle. I’m not one of those people and, really, I have some weird quirks, but that seems more than a little pitiful.
I couldn’t tell you, not honestly, why I prefer to play female characters in games. My daughters appreciate it (“Dad! Are you going to be a girl again?” You are!?!?! YAY!), but this goes back before any of them were born. I think it started with Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (for video games) back in the day and I haven’t stopped since other than to try it out on a few games and immediately re-roll my character as a girl after a few shudders. Most of the games that allow you to be a woman are role-playing games (RPGs), so I “re-roll”, using D&D vernacular, when I decide that something about the guy bugs the absolute piss out of me. I “rolled” female characters less frequently when I played pen and paper RPGs, such as Dungeons and Dragons, Vampire: The Masquerade and Shadowrun, so it wasn’t an entirely new habit, but it became my only habit after KotOR. Again, as long as I was allowed to have a female character.
I’m sure that says something about me and, if it bothered me (which it doesn’t), I might dig deeper into what it says. But that sounds like work and I’m about as concerned about it as I am about being okay with wearing a man dress. Seattle, 1995, a clothing designer asked me if I would model her concept for a man dress because I wore kilts and velvet skirts and she knew me because her store was in my neighborhood and saw me all the time. I agreed to model it for her, but ended up cancelling when her show was scheduled for after I planned to move back to Minnesota. I would have loved to see what she did and it kinda bums me out that I never did. I would have kept it if she’d made it for me.
But before you paint me as simply a closet cross-dresser, I’ll point out that I often bought clothes from the women’s racks at stores because they fit my goth/new romantic/fuckitpunkit sense of style better then the clothes designed for men at the time. I wore black lace tanks too, so sue me and I think I can safely say I was the only guy in the area to wear a scarlet scarf around his neck (which doubled as a hip sash) and a belly-dancing coin girdle regularly just to lark around in.
So, I was always more androgynous when I was younger than a cross-dresser. Obviously a guy, with a flamboyant sense of what he should wear.
So, with this iteration of AssCreed, I am running through the woods, chopping up guys with my axe of death (because nothing says viking like axes), talking in my smoker’s voice before there were smokes to smoke, and making a general nuisance of myself. The best take-away from the game so far (aside from lopping off the heads of bad guys) is that I need to consider shaving one side of my head and getting a raven tattoo. My game-raven tat over the ear is badass.
And it would totally look off on a guy character. Just saying.